The vast majority of graves do not seem to be haunted. I would guess that at least 95% of graves are simply tributes to a person’s life. No spirit is there.
Nevertheless, cemeteries are still among the best places to learn ghost hunting. In most cemeteries, you’ll find at least one or two very haunted graves.
That’s all you need, to develop your research techniques.
In my book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries – A How-To Guide, I explain how to find the graves that are most likely to have ghostly energy.
In that book, I give tips about the kinds of cemeteries that are more likely to be haunted. I explain which parts of the cemetery — and nearby — seem to harbor more ghosts. I describe the artwork and inscriptions to look for, to identify the most haunted graves. I show photos to help you find unmarked and neglected graves, which may be haunted.
And, I provide one simple rule to find ghosts if you’re in a hurry, or don’t know where to start looking in a haunted cemetery.
Choose 19th century graves
Though I can’t summarize the entire book here, the age of a cemetery (and the graves in it) seems to make a difference.
I prefer to research at cemeteries with many graves from the 19th century or earlier.
Graves from the mid-20th century to the present seem to be less haunted, but when police officers tell me about haunted graves, they’re almost always from that more recent time period… I have no idea why. It may be a simple perception difference.
Today, I think most people die with an understanding that something different and better will happen next. And, for them, “crossing over” isn’t a big issue.
When people die with very specific expectations, some of them won’t leave the gravesite until that happens.
They might be waiting for St. Peter to escort them to pearly gates. They may expect a particular kind of angel to arrive to guide them to Heaven. They could expect a river to appear, and a silent boatman to guide them to “the other side.”
It all depends on the person’s spiritual context, and how sincerely (or stubbornly) they hold onto specific expectations. In the 19th century and earlier, many people held rigid religious beliefs. That may be one reason why those older graves are richer for ghost investigations.
The “Go to the light!” approach has become a cliche in some circles. However, though it may sound silly to some people, if you say “go toward the light” to an unhappy spirit, they often respond with, “Oh! The light…? I do see a light. Okay, thank you!”
That’s all we needed to do, to be helpful with that spirit. After that, there were no further reports of hauntings at that location.
Note: In most cases, you’ll need to speak out loud, just a little louder than you would to someone standing next to you. In other cases, a whisper or even telepathic communication may be enough.
Where else you’ll find ghosts
It’s true that some spirits never reach the grave. They may be waiting for something at the location where they died. Some get as far as the cemetery gates and won’t go in.
Others wait at places they enjoyed during their lives, or at the location they would have gone to next, if they were still alive.
In Scotland, I once encountered a ghost who had died, and his spirit had continued to the location of his next appointment. Of course, the associate heard of the death and never showed up, but the spirit was determined to wait until he did.
Frankly, we don’t know enough about ghosts to understand why they haunt some places and not others.
We also don’t know enough about how we perceive ghosts, to understand why some people sense more ghosts at cemeteries (or battlefields, or houses where tragedy occurred), and others don’t.
This can be a fascinating study, and if you have ideas or suggestions, I hope you’ll leave comments, below.
Note: If you’re searching for more articles about haunted cemeteries, be sure to spell the word cemetery, not cematary or cematery. (The spelling can be difficult to remember when you’re not used to writing it.) I’ve written many helpful articles at this website, if you’re ghost hunting in haunted cemeteries.